Thursday, March 26, 2015

idea pouch for Kindle

Lately I've been all about cleaning, and organizing, and getting rid of stuff I don't need while taking better care of the things I like. So, after being all happy about a little pouch I made for my camera, I decided my Kindle (which I recently "inherited" from my daughter :)) needed a new home as well.

I wanted something simple, pretty, as well as functional and I think this smaller version of Idea pouch fits the bill perfectly. I used the original pattern designed by Michelle patterns and printed all the pieces at 75% since the original size was too large for my Kindle.

I'm kind of obsessed with Art Gallery's Maker fabric collection and how it pairs so beautifully with Essex linen. Such a perfect match, don't you think?

I like how this Idea pouch has an extra pocket for my earbuds as well as a few pens and a notebook. Such a clever design, ♥♥♥.

I so love the addition of this simple little tab - tutorial is also by Michelle, you can find it here. I think it adds just the right amount of finesse to the finished pouch.

This is my second Idea pouch, you can find more info on the first one here. As you can see, my first Idea pouch was the original size. I keep my notebook and pens in it and it's already served me so well. I hope to get as much, or even more, use out of my new smaller Idea pouch. Who knows, I might even get over my dislike of ebooks, but for now it's all about having my Breaking Bad episodes with me on the go :).

Have a lovely day friends. Svetlana

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

lola pouch {a chubby version}

I don't usually carry my camera with me, but when I do, I have this bad habit of just tossing it in my purse and off I go on my merry way :). I know, horrible idea, isn't it? So last night I decided it was time I changed that and made a pouch specifically for my camera.

I came up with this "chubby version" of my Lola pouch. I did a few changes to the original pattern as I wanted this pouch to snugly fit my camera as well as provide plenty of protection.

I used Essex linen and Maker quilting cotton (I fused SF101 to its wrong side to make it more sturdy) for the exterior of the pouch. I also added store bought piping to add a little bit more interest and color. I love how simple additions like that add a lot of character to finished projects.

Now, since this pouch's main purpose is to protect my camera, I used Soft and Stable instead of my usual fusible fleece between exterior and lining. Works like a charm, such squishy perfection. Oh, and I used super soft AMH flannel for lining (I fused SF101 to its wrong side as well). Yes, lots and lots of layers in this little pouch.

I decided to finish zipper binding by hand as the thickness of layers and smaller size of the pouch made it a quite tricky to do nicely even machine top stitching.

In case you were wondering about the scale, here's my chubby pouch side by side with both small and large original versions of  Lola pouch.

I so enjoy this kind of quick and simple, yet very useful projects. And my camera will finally have a  safe and cozy place to rest while we're out and about :).


Sunday, March 22, 2015

summer flag quilt

Hello everyone, how was your weekend? I'm super glad to say mine was pretty productive and I even finished my Summer Flag Quilt.

Such a riot of color, isn't it? I used mostly Cotton + Steel fabrics because their beautifully saturated colors are my absolute favorites at the moment.

Katy (I'm a ginger monkey) designed this Fly The Flag quilt for Quilt Now issue 2 magazine and the combination of big flags and beautiful colors reminds me of colored summer beach huts.

 This is a pretty large quilt (67" x 80") and I'm planning on using it as a picnic blanket so I wanted something bright and colorful for the back as well. I pieced this variety of prints and colors from my stash and I think it matches the top quite well. Plus, I'm hoping these colors will be good at hiding stains as well :).

I love how this quilt was quite a departure from my "regular" quilts. Have you noticed lack of white and low volume fabrics? I even quilted it using four different colors of thread - magenta, navy, green, and gray. See, not even white thread in sight. 

And since I could not decide on any one color for the binding, I went scrappy. 

I attached binding completely by machine as I'm thinking this quilt will see a lot of action this summer and thus will end up being washed a lot.

Now, if only warm weather decided to show up already. Instead, though, we're expecting yet another snow storm tomorrow :(. Totally not cool !!


Thursday, March 19, 2015

cog + wheel {a finished quilt}

I'm so very, very, super happy to have this quilt finished. I made the first two cog + wheel blocks way back in January 2013 !!! and my plan was to make nine blocks to have a nice lap sized quilt.

The other day I came across those two finished blocks and I decided it was time to check Cog + Wheel quilt (pattern by Denyse Schmidt) off my to do list. There was no way I was making seven more of these blocks though, so I decided to make just two and add sashing and thick-ish border to make the quilt a usable size. It ended up being 55" x 58".

And yes, I did not mark my white solids properly and used a wrong white for one of the blocks. I'm now simply pretending it's part of my design plan ;).

I used a mix of DS fabrics from my stash to make a simple backing. I always enjoy this kind of scrappy, use what you've got backing the most.

I quilted it using straight horizontal lines about 1/4" -1/2" apart.

For some reason I always worry that this kind of quilting will make for a super stiff quilt which is not true at all. It gives the finished quilt a wonderful drape and a lovely feel.

I decided to stick with DS fabrics for the binding as well. And, just like with the quilt back, I went scrappy and used what I had on hand. I think it frames the quilt quite nicely and brings a little bit more interest to the finished quilt.

Thanks for reading everyone. Svetlana

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

round patchwork placemats + pillow {new pdf pattern}

About a year ago I designed round patchwork placemats for Quilt Now (issue 1) magazine. 

I love the idea of round placemats so I decided to revamp my original instructions, draft additional pattern pieces to give an option for making either round placemats or regular square pillow cover/ mini quilt, and my newest pdf pattern is now here. Yay! (I just made the whole process look super easy and totally unrealistic but you know what I mean, right?)

I so like this understated, scrappy with a hint of color but not too much in your face, pillow cover. It finishes at 19" square and fits a 20" pillow form, my very favorite pillow size at the moment, perfectly.

Both the pillow as well as placemats would  make a great project for giving a curved piecing a try. Full sized templates are included in the pattern and the instructions are written with advanced beginner in mind.

I just love to see how the same pattern gives quite different results depending on whether you use dark or light background. Fun, isn't it?

This pattern is now available for purchase at my Etsy store or by clicking on my Payhip link below (all my patterns are available for purchase worldwide).

buy this pattern

I'm offering this pattern at a discounted $4.00 price for the next 48 hours . After that it will go back to its regular $6.00 price.

Happy sewing, friends. And thank you so much for all your support. Svetlana

Monday, March 16, 2015

steam punk

Hello, happy Monday to you all!

Did you have a good weekend? Ours was pretty nice, we even got to spend some time outside soaking in much needed sun.

And, I sewed, of course. I'm quite surprised that after almost 5 years of constant sewing it's still my absolute very favorite activity to do. I'm so lucky :).

I actually started working on two new quilts this weekend. Yes, I was definitely on fire. One of them is a super colorful, perfect for summer Cotton + Steel quilt which I will show you in the next few days, but today I'd like to talk a little about Steam Punk quilt .

I bought this pattern ages ago but somehow I did not feel like tackling all those curves so I put it in the "some day " pile and promptly forgot about it. And then yesterday I suddenly knew it was time to tackle this beauty.

my first three blocks
I finally opened my pattern and I must admit, I was more than disappointed with what I found inside. The templates needed to make this block don't have seam allowance added which is kind of a pain since there are tons of curved edges. I found adding exact 1/4" seam allowance to curved edges quite annoying and time consuming. Later I noticed that it says the pattern is for hand piecing and thus no seam allowance. But come on, how difficult is it to add seam allowances to templates right from the beginning and let people choose? Because, really, how many of us are going to hand piece such a quilt?

I was also kind of disappointed by lack of any useful instructions and tips. I mean, this pattern involves curved piecing as well as applique. So simply saying attach A to B is not good enough in my opinion. Thankfully I've done my share of piecing to know what to do and I've read a lot about needle turn applique in Sarah Fielke's books. One of her tips is to cut out the extra fabric in the middle of the block to reduce the bulk and help the block sit nice and flat. I think this kind of advice should have been included.

I'm also cutting my corner templates larger than the actual size as this helps with squaring up the block.

All in all, I think I will enjoy making this quilt a lot. But I'm still wondering. Am I too picky to want to get more than just templates without seam allowances and super basic instructions for a premium priced pattern? What are your thoughts?


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

how to bind rounded quilted projects

Lately I've had this obsession with round placemats and finding the best way to bind them. I know this sentence does sound sort of insane to a regular person, but I'm sure there are many quilty kindred spirits who totally understand :).

So I thought I'd share my preferred double fold bias binding method with you.

A few notes before we start though:
- my patchwork placemat is 14" in diameter so I needed about 45" of bias binding (multiply your project's diameter times 3.14 + add 1" to know how much binding you'll need)
- use 1/4" seam allowance unless otherwise noted
- be careful not to tug or pull on your binding as it's easily stretched since it's cut on bias
- Wonder Clips are amazing when it comes to holding binding in place, but you can use pins instead
- I cut my binding 2.25" wide for this project. If I were to bind a quilt using this method I'd cut my binding at 2.5".

1. Place 16" square of binding fabric on cutting mat and cut diagonally through the middle starting in upper left corner going down to lower right corner. You'll have two identical triangles, sub-cut these into 2.25" wide strips.

2. Each of your strips now has their edges cut on bias which will work well for stitching them into a continuous strip. Place two strips next to each other as shown in the picture below.

3. Place binding strips right sides together as shown, notice how there will be about 1/4" fabric hanging over on each end - this will ensure your binding strips will form one straight continuous binding. Use 1/4" seam allowance to sew strips together.

4. Press the seam and cut off little ear of fabric that's sticking out.

5. Stitch strips of binding together until you have about 45" long binding. Fold binding in half lengthwise, wrong sides together. Press with hot iron.

6. Line up the raw edge of binding to raw edge of wrong side of placemat and start attaching binding  about 3" from the edge of binding (it's important to leave the 3" "tail" as that will help when joining the two final edges of binding together).

Sew around the curved edge, aligning binding and placemat's raw edges as you go. Don't pull on the binding, let the machine do most of the work.

7.  Stitch all the way around the placemat, leaving about 3" - 4" gap with no binding attached.

8. Bring both binding edges together and use fabric pen to mark where the bindings meet.

9. Cut extra binding off, leaving 1/4" seam allowance along each mark. (see picture below)

10. Open the binding and place right sides together, stitch along the marked lines. (This step might be a little tricky with placemat getting in the way. Just take it slow and use pins to hold binding together)

11. Press the seam open, fold the binding in half again and stitch in place.

12.  Flip the binding to the right side of your placemat.

13. Use wonder clips or pins to hold binding in place. Stitch using 1/8" seam allowance.

14. Congratulations!!! Your binding is now attached. Give your project one more good press and you're all finished.
Now, wasn't that fun? I hope you give this double fold bias binding a try sometime. As for me, I totally see a quilt with rounded corners and striped bias binding in my near future :).


Monday, March 9, 2015

cargo duffle

Hello friends, did you have a nice weekend?

 I spent most of my Saturday working on a Cargo Duffle bag (free tutorial by Anna/ Noodlhead here).

 I went back and forth way too many times trying to decide what fabric to use and I'm really glad I finally settled on a combination of Doe quilting cotton and thin denim for the exterior of the bag.

This is my second Cargo Duffle and while I was ok with the way my first one looked, there were a few things I wanted to change this time. I did a little research to see what others who made the bag had to say about it and I found quite a few very useful blog posts. I especially found this post very helpful and informative and while I did not do all the changes, it was a great source of reference for me.

As you have probably noticed already I decided to omit cargo pockets and install one longish zipper pocket on the outside as I find this kind of pocket to be more useful.

I also used pre-made piping to add a little bit more color to the exterior. I just love how simple touches like this can have such great impact on the overall look of the bag.

One of the greatest discoveries for me was to learn there was a way to turn my 26" coverall zipper, which comes with zipper pulls on each end, into a perfect bag zipper where both zipper pulls meet in the middle (super handy tutorial here).

I knew right from the beginning I wanted to make fabric covered handles - I used 1.25" wide cotton webbing and cut my quilting cotton at 4.5" which was a perfect width to wrap around the handles. Now, these handles are not the easiest to make but I found out using tons of Wonder clips to hold layers together and sewing at slower than usual speed really helps.

I also added leather tabs at each end of main zipper to have something to grab onto when closing, opening the bag.

I originally thought of using coordinating fabric for the lining but I changed my mind right before cutting and went with this bright Anna Maria Horner fabric instead. And I'm so glad I did as it's such a lovely, bright contrast to this duffle's exterior.

I fused SF101 to my lining pieces and assembled it the same way I did the bag exterior (with the exception of zipper of course). I then placed the lining inside the exterior and hand stitched it to zipper tape. I won't lie, this was a tedious and pretty painful process as I poked myself with pins way too many times. That said, I still think it was well worth is as I like how lining makes this bag more sturdy and I was also able to add one more zipper pocket on the inside.

I'm very happy with the way my duffle bag turned out. I just wish I had hardware and enough webbing to make a long adjustable strap to attach to sides. Well, there's always next time :).

Oh, and I used walking foot while doing pretty much all the sewing, except for the zipper parts.

I'll be packing this bag for my Sewtopia Chicago retreat in a few weeks. Can't wait. Are any of you going? It would be so fun to meet up. Svetlana
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